Women’s bodies go through many changes during menopause, but those changes may lead to a problem you may not expect—urinary incontinence. Dr. J. Kyle Mathews would like women to know more about menopause and incontinence and what may happen during this time of your life.
During menopause, the pelvic floor muscles get weaker. These muscles are very important because they provide support to the bladder. If these muscles weaken, it can lead to stress urinary incontinence with symptoms that include leaking urine when you laugh, cough, sneeze, lift objects or exert yourself. This problem develops more often during perimenopause and continues into and after menopause.
You may wonder what menopause and incontinence have to do with your bladder’s ability to stretch. As you age and go through menopause, your body produces less estrogen. This causes your bladder to lose its elasticity, making it more difficult for it to stretch as it fills with urine. When the bladder can’t stretch properly, it can become irritated, leading to an overactive bladder that causes you to feel the urge to urinate more often. When you combine a bladder that can’t stretch with weakened pelvic floor muscles (which also result from hormone changes), women may have difficulty holding urine in or feel the need to go more often.
Another reason why menopause and incontinence are linked may be due to weight gain. Some women experience a problems gaining weight during or after menopause due to hormone changes. If the weight gain leaves you severely overweight or obese, you may experience incontinence. When you weigh too much, it puts a serious strain on the important pelvic floor muscles that you need to support your bladder, and that can lead to leakage or the need to urinate more frequently.
Dr. Mathews doesn’t want you to become concerned when you read this information about menopause and incontinence; instead, he wants you to become educated and talk to him and his experienced staff about identifying and treating any problems that result from menopausal changes. We can help! Contact us for more information about menopause and incontinence.